‘Where are the women?’ asks Michelin Guide head as 2024’s French restaurant guide is announced

The 2024 Michelin Guide France was announced on Monday.
The 2024 Michelin Guide France was announced on Monday. Copyright Canva / AP
Copyright Canva / AP
By Anca Ulea
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The prestigious Michelin Guide added 52 new starred restaurants in France, more than ever before. While many young chefs were awarded, women were still notably absent.


France remains the gastronomic capital of the world, according to the prestigious restaurant-rating Michelin guide, which unveiled its 2024 selection of top French restaurants on Monday.

The ceremony took place in the Loire Valley city of Tours, after previous editions in Strasbourg and Cognac. Since the pandemic, the Michelin Guide has been making an effort to branch out beyond Paris and has been changing locations each year.

The guide has also been making a concerted effort to grow its audience and attract younger people, with a major focus this year on French chefs under the age of 40.

In total the organisation, which originated in France in 1920, named a total of 639 Starred French restaurants – the most of any country in the world.

This year’s winners included more young chefs than ever before – 52 restaurants in Paris and across the country snagged their first Michelin star, a testament to the country’s rising new culinary generation.

One of the most stunning stories of the night was that of young chef Fabien Ferré, who bucked tradition by unlocking three stars in one go for his restaurant La Table du Castellet, in the South of France.

At 35, Ferré became the youngest French chef to be awarded three Michelin stars, the guide’s highest honour.

“I’m not great at speeches,” Ferré said while accepting his chef’s whites. “I’m a bit better in the kitchen. I arrived at the Castellet 11 years ago. Would I ever have imagined being on this stage winning the greatest honour?”

Also earning the top honour for the first time, chef Jérôme Banctel’s Le Gabriel - La Réserve in Paris received three Michelin stars at the ceremony.

‘Where are the women?’

But while the recognition of young chefs was a breath of fresh air for the century-old institution, women were still notably absent from the prestigious list, which is known to make or break fine-dining establishments.

Only six women were among the newly starred chefs this year, each receiving one star, and only one woman was awarded on her own – Eugénie Béziat, head chef at the Ritz Paris’ flagship restaurant, L’Espadon.

Other women earned their stars as part of duos with male co-chefs – including Adeline Lesage for Nacre near Bordeaux, Emilie Roussey for Le Moulin de Cambelong outside Toulouse and Florencia Montes for Onice in Nice.

And a rare duo of female chefs – Manon Fleury and Laurène Barjhoux – earned a star for their restaurant Datil in Paris.

Anne-Sophie Pic is still the only French female chef to earn three Michelin stars for her restaurant Maison Pic.
Anne-Sophie Pic is still the only French female chef to earn three Michelin stars for her restaurant Maison Pic.Michel Euler/Copyright 2018 The AP. All rights reserved.

The overwhelmingly masculine cohort was pointed out by the Michelin Guide’s International Director Gwendal Poullennec in a speech ahead of the announcement of the new three-star winners:

“Where are the women? Too few women are leading kitchens, despite the fact that more and more of them are working in kitchens. It’s a reality we deplore. I know many chefs have come up with strong initiatives to promote talented young women. I’m very happy about that and hope that one day they’ll open their own restaurants.”

Poullennec’s speech was followed by a video showing women in France’s restaurant industry – including France’s only three-star female chef Anne-Sophie Pic.

The Michelin Guide has been expanding its reach in recent years, adding new countries to its repertoire and deploying dozens of mysterious inspectors to go undercover as judges. Today the organisation produces guide books in more than 25 countries, including Italy, Spain, Estonia, South Korea, the UK and Japan.

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